Apr 01, 2019
Guillaume is a French self-taught photographer who creates compelling visual narratives working primarily in B&W and using high contrasts. In his series "Going North", Guillaume documents his travels to the North Sea, capturing the transient emotions that are experienced when a person is on a journey. Divided in three chapters, this series represent a physical but also a mental journey, a palette of emotions that has to be read like that, with the senses.
am - First of all thank you very much for your contribution to our project. Can you please introduce yourself for us?
GD - I’m 39 years old living in Lyon France. My career begins with business studies that did not serve me much in the end. I've been a photographer-author for a few years now. This is my job or rather I’ll say these are my jobs because eclecticism is part of the game. My time is shared between my work as a photography teacher in different colleges and several collaborations. For example, I collaborate with the choreographer Jean Camille Goimard on multidisciplinary creations but also through a company that we both created. I am also part of the «120LOVE» collective based in Tokyo. Between all these activities, I can work at my own pace on my personal approach as an author.
Nothing has prepared me for this job and I must admit that it ’s complicated, the investment between time and energy is considerable, but as we say «when you love you don’t count the cost».
am - How did you start in photography?
GD - I started practicing photography a decade ago when I arrived in Lyon. Loving the extreme sports world and being cradled by its iconography, it was more than natural to start photographing these practices. I was quickly able to collaborate with magazines, brands and huge competitions. For a while, I was delighted to be so much involved in this way of life that had always been mine, but this irreproachable desire has changed progressively. After few years I had a whole introspection that led me to a brand new perception of «the real», it led me to a new way of perceiving photography as a medium. My sensitivity migrates to other subjects, one is attracted by very different things. It took me a while to understand what was really animating me and to be able to assimilate it. I started film photography after two years of practicing. There is this little story about what really troubled me and made me understand a lot. A friend of mine told me that he was quitting photography and was about to sell his medium format camera, a Kiev 88. I was fascinated by this object! He came to my place, we had a little chat, but I was so exited that I hardly listened to all of his advices about loading the film and the various manipulations. I jumped into my car, called my job to tell them that I would not be around for few days, and drove to the end of the Ardèche mountains in the south of France. The view was magical, sublimated by the viewfinder of the Kiev 88. Spring was settled, I took several rolls of color and black and white film during a week. I got back to Lyon totally hypnotized because I lived a real new experience. The films were dropped at the lab and when I discovered my first contact sheets, I knew that I could never go back. The impact of these images is still very present.
am - What is “Going north” about?
GD - «Going North» is a personal approach to the concepts of travelling and transition. It is built around three chapters, crossing different times and geographies. I think that the journey is as important as the destination. Moving, migrating while being aware of your environment. I’m talking about what’s happening inside and outside the person. Patience, excitement, fear, let go... A palette of emotions and cravings appear.
At the very end it is the North Sea, it has been charming me for a few years now.
Only between the sea and me, a twisted relationship has been formed and I want to cherish it. What are we projecting in these transient landscapes, what are they sending back to us?
I've been always attracted to «black light», it permeates the majority of my work. This series is the result of months or even years of work. «Going North» is much more condensed, three chapters of an infinite «work in progress».
am - Who are your favourite photographers / artists?
GD - There are so many visions that draw attention, it is hard to be exhaustive: Paulo Nozolino, Josef Koudelka, Walker Evans, W. Eugene Smith, Josef Sudek, Harry Gruyaert, Saul Leiter, Bryan Schutmaat, Eugene Atget and many others.
am - What’s your favourite movie?
GD - I always dreamed of finding the secret door to get into Jacques Tati's movies. His universes fascinate me since I was a little boy and they have certainly contributed to my taste for anachronism and bygone ages.
am - What is your favourite photo book?
GD - I like photo books, to me are essential. Reading this question, I’m looking at my library asking for help (laugh). These are those who marked me a lot, for different reasons:
· Paulo Nozolino's «Far Cry» remains to this day my biggest knock. I opened the book, saw the first picture, I knew!
· «Dead Traffic» by Kim Thue, an incredible dive in Sierra Leone.
· «Errance» by Raymond Depardon is a book that I’ll never read to the end, the texts are so strong, it pushes you to leave and never come back.
· «That day» by Willy Ronis is such a beauty in simplicity, so many humanism and anecdotes offered by the author. What a pity not to see his reflection about «La péniche aux enfants» which was maybe his favorite picture (and also mine).
· «The Last Picture» by Franck Courtés is a very moving novel that shows another aspect of photography. It’s an absolutely must read, I received it as a gift from a friend (thank you Natacha). I got it when I seriously began to ask questions about photography as a purpose, as a single lexical field. It echoed many things in me.
am - Thank you very much for your time and your contribution to analog magazine.
GD - Thank you also for inviting me to speak. Thank you for your time, your passion and the energy you put in looking for different horizons.
All images © Guillaume Ducreux